Idaho Criminal Defense Blog

Idaho Criminal Defense Blog

Information and Insight on Criminal Law and Civil Rights

Archives: Constitutional Law

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Exigent circumstances justify warrantless search of apartment

Posted in Assistance of Counsel, Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense
Just how far does the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution go to protect against a warrantless search of an apartment? That question was again considered this week by the First Circuit Court of Appeals in US v. Yoga Almonte-Baez, a case in which the petitioner was convicted of drug trafficking crimes and sentenced to 156 months… Continue Reading

“Officers threw him to the ground, got on top of him and shot him dead!”

Posted in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Crime Victims, Criminal Defense, News
I am packing for the weekend and watching a little TV news this morning, and from that box a witness to a fatal shooting in Louisiana offered this explanation for the dramatic killing of a black man by a police officer there: “Officers threw him to the ground, got on top of him and shot… Continue Reading

The preliminary hearing – to waive or not to waive, that is the question.

Posted in Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, Trials
The decision whether to waive a preliminary hearing, and give up a review of the probable cause determination, can often be a tough one for clients to make. Every client hopes a win at preliminary hearing means the whole case goes away before it really ever started. Unfortunately, the truth is the State’s burden at… Continue Reading

Record Number of False Convictions in 2015 – Who Says You Don’t Need the Best Lawyer You Can Afford!

Posted in Assistance of Counsel, Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense
After 35 years practicing criminal defense, I am sometimes cynical about our system of justice. Prosecutors overcharge offenses in an attempt to prompt a plea from defendants. Defendants are seldom “presumed innocent” in the eyes of the arraigning judge, many of whom impose restrictions on pretrial release that are as onerous as the penalty for… Continue Reading

Peterson Lawyers Join the Yantis Case

Posted in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, News
    We have joined with the Spence Law Firm out of Jackson, Woming and Paul Winward of Boise to represent the family of slain Council rancher Jack Yantis. An interview discussing the case is available from Channel 7 News here. Not certain that we are really “high profile” lawyers, but I am happy we… Continue Reading

Bowe Bergdahl and the Serial Podcast – Court of Popular Opinion

Posted in Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, News, Trials
SGT. Bowe Bergdahl will stand trial for Desertion and for Misbehavior before the Enemy despite the recommendations of the officer who presided over the Article 32 Investigation that a lesser proceeding is appropriate. Bergdahl left his post, was captured by the Taliban, was held 5 years and was only released when President Obama worked some magic and… Continue Reading

That “Fog Line” is Actually Part of the Lane – DUI Case Reversed!

Posted in Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, DUI, News, Trials
Idaho’s Supremes have decided, in a 3 – 2 decision, that the line on the side of the road is actually part of the lane, so an officer unreasonably stopped a driver because he had driven onto that line twice. That decision results in suppression of the evidence needed by the State for its DUI case. The case goes… Continue Reading

Panel Kills Public Defender Changes in Idaho – Don’t Blame the Defenders!

Posted in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, News, Politics
 From the Idaho Statesman tonight:  "Four years ago, a report from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association found that Idaho is violating its Sixth Amendment obligations to defendants. Public defenders across the state were being given too many cases, and some defendants weren’t meeting their attorneys until they were in the courtroom. The report… Continue Reading

Supremes Say Your Truck Can Be Stopped On An Anonymous Report

Posted in Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, DUI, Search and Seizure
   Once again we see that our right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure finds too few friends in the United States Supreme Court. The issue in Navarette v. California, decided this week, was whether the fourth amendment requires an officer who receives an anonymous tip regarding a drunken or reckless driver to corroborate… Continue Reading

Criminal Cases Require Lawyers with “attention to detail, an energetic investigation and a coherent plan of defense”

Posted in Assistance of Counsel, Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, Hire a Lawyer, News, Politics, Trials
 The news tonight declares that Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel has won a new trial because his criminal defense lawyer did not do enough to provide an effective defense. Robert F. Kennedy was his uncle. Mr. Skakel was convicted of the murder of Martha Moxley in 1975. She was beaten to death with a golf club… Continue Reading

Supreme Court weighs question of cruel and unusual punishment for teens

Posted in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, News
The Supreme Court recently heard arguments surrounding two new cases up for review. Both involved the question of just how severe a penalty imposed on a juvenile offender must be in order to declared unconstitutionally cruel and unusual. The first case, Miller v. Alabama, involved a 14-year-old in Alabama who beat an older man to… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Tightens Rules on Plea Bargains

Posted in Assistance of Counsel, Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, Federal Sentencing, Trials
 As any experienced Idaho criminal defense lawyer will tell you, the vast majority of cases are resolved with a plea bargain long before they ever reach a courtroom. Plea bargains are important to prosecutors because they help efficiently clear dockets and allow them to prosecute more cases. They can also be beneficial to defendants by… Continue Reading

Just One Tool – Protecting Your Sixth Amendment Rights

Posted in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, DUI, Fraud, Trials
The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution provides you with many of your most important tools at trial. It is intended to guarantee a fair trial to every person accused of a crime. Whether you are charged with DUI, a drug crime, a sex offense, fraud, manslaughter or murder, the Sixth Amendment helps us to get… Continue Reading

Idaho Criminal Defense Blog Is About Content – Free Information For You On Criminal Defense In Idaho

Posted in Assistance of Counsel, Civil Rights, Civil Trial Practice, Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, DUI, Hire a Lawyer, Trials
Have you noticed how many attorney websites are all about the lawyer and pay no attention to the information that people charged with criminal matters are looking for? Most lawyer websites scream: "Hire me! Do it now! You might go to prison if you don’t act within the next hour! Call me now!" I hate those… Continue Reading

BAC Report Not Admissible Without Live Lab Analyst – This Changes Everything For DUI Cases

Posted in Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, DUI
 In an odd combination of Justices, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the 6th Amendment right to cross-examine and confront witnesses against you includes the right to question the lab analyst who tested your breath for alcohol in a DUI case. Justices Ginsberg, Scalia, Sotomayor, Thomas and Kagan joined in the majority opinion… Continue Reading

Idaho Court of Appeals Upholds Warrantless Search of Car – Just Like The United States Supreme Court Did

Posted in Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, DUI, Search and Seizure
 A recent Idaho Court of Appeals decision follows recent United States Supreme Court precedent, allowing a search of a car incident to arrest, even if the defendant is in custody at the time of the search, and unable to reach into the vehicle at the time of the search. The Idaho case is State v.… Continue Reading

Idaho’s Civil Action For Victims Of Sexual Abuse Not Applied Retroactively

Posted in Assistance of Counsel, Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Crime Victims, Idaho Appellate Decisions
 The Idaho Supreme Court decided an interesting case in which the Boy Scouts of America sought to dismiss a case brought by sex abuse victims who had not proceeded with their cases until they were adults. Generally, Idaho civil law contains a statute of limitations that ends liability for civil cases after some number of… Continue Reading

Did I say the Idaho Supreme Court never grants relief? Say it ain’t so!

Posted in Assistance of Counsel, Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, Idaho Appellate Decisions
The problem with over generalizations is – they are in fact over generalizations! Guilty. I may have suggested recently that your likelihood of getting relief on appeal is about the same as coming up with a perpetual motion machine; or a little less than winning that $200 million Power Ball; or swimming from Los Angeles… Continue Reading
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